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False Nationalism, False Industrialization in Sri Lanka
e-Con e-News 13-19 September 2020
• Why Merchants, Moneylenders & Landlords Rule • A Ministry of Steel?
• Gandhi vs Wimalasurendra • Local Auto Sourcing Promises
• Media & the Dictatorship of Exports • Stockmarket High as Economies Crash
• Rural Collectives Own Farmland in China
How did merchants, moneylenders and landlords come to dominate cultivators and the entire economy on behalf of multinational corporations? They refuse to invest in modern (machine) industry. This ee begins to examine their history in the underdevelopment of the country. (see ee Focus)
• New website Gammiris features a succinct challenge, The Case for a State Ministry of Steel: ‘Much is being said these days about traditional industries, but is our definition of “traditional” limited by orientalist stereotypes?’ Our steel,1,000 years ago, was helping to repel crusaders in West Asia! 50 years ago, we were producing all our steel needs. Now we refuse to develop our own iron mines, but import steel from India, selling them our scrap iron. (see ee Focus)
• Is it autos or tractors we need to make? US and Indian multinationals, never known for their sharing of knowledge, promised this week to fulfil a 30% local sourcing requirement for auto assembly. Has this promise been made many times before? No details are provided about supply chains, how these parts will be made and by what instruments.
• Laxapana architect DJ Wimalasurendra named names 100 years ago: it was the white man’s oil companies and their off-white marionettes (merchants, moneylenders, landlords) who’ve frustrated industrial renaissance in Sri Lanka. They’ve instead promoted Gandhian (Senanayakian) romanticism, which Nehru ignored for India.
Saroijini Dutt, ‘Nightingale of India’s Independence’, who called her friend Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Chocolate Mickey Mouse’, once quipped, after watching the frenetic ‘handicraft’ activity at Gandhi’s ashram: “It has cost the nation a lot of money, to keep Mickey Mouse poor!”
While we don’t expect instant panaceas, there’s no official pronouncements and no media discussion even allowed about large industry – cement, steel, machinery, chemicals – which provide the industrial raw materials for small industry. Philip Gunawardena and William de Silva declared large industry vital 60 years ago? Yet there’s lots of blabber about MSMEs (Medium & Small Enterprises), etc. So who’s afraid of LMEs (Large), which can employ and skill 10,000s?
• The media is busy blaring other high-pitched orchestrations instead. The topmost screeching is against the 20th Amendment, with a recurrent ostinato against ‘dictatorship’. (Ostinato are musical motifs relentlessly repeated in the same voice – from Latin for ‘obstinate’). The stage being set to undermine the people’s will, through the usual Sorosian ‘color’ revolutions.
• The other ostinato is the cry for exports (eg garments), which need expensive MNC imports (machines, yarn, thread, needles, pins, etc). Then there’s the lament for foreign investments. Indeed, ostinato may be a portmanteau: Obstinate + NATO!
• Yet underneath buzzes the dogged drone to maintain the dictatorship of the colonial import-export plantation regime, which Sri Lanka has lived under for the last many centuries.
• The news is all aflutter about buoyant stockmarkets – “Stellar week in ‘Super September’ for CSE”. Yet the stock market has little to do with the real economy (see ee Economists, Varoufakis). A quick glance through each ee Finance section repeats regular news items dedicated to the state of the rupee. Each week the news follows an unerring pattern of ‘Strong’, ‘Flat’, ‘Weak’, ‘Firm’, etc, as if observing a patient’s heart in the ICU. The same goes for the WB, IMF, ADB forecasts on the economy. The same goes with the casino-stockmarket, where eternal ‘price disturbance’ is the name of the game, and sharks and piranhas beguile the guppies, by claiming the sea is a exciting equal-opportunity arena.
• While the World Bank destroyed cultivation committees here, farmland in China still belongs to rural collectives. This ee presents a different view of China’s rise:”Beneath the surface of dazzling urban prosperity was rapid rural industrialization.” This was mainly based on the solidarity of villagers organized into communes, which our half-bright fullbrights insist were dismantled after Mao. Not so! 100,000s of these Township & Village Enterprises (TVEs) based on communes, became the root of China’s great rise, turning into industrial collectives! (see ee Focus) Economics departments and economists promote nonsense, having no idea about how some Asian countries have really advanced.
A1. Reader Comments –
• Exports $12billion, Imports cost $22bn • ee’s Urgent Need • UnderSecretary for Coolies? • SL Doomed Unless? • School Admission Games
A2. Quotes of the Week
• England Sinks, Stockmarket Booms • US on Drugs • Capital Outflows Max to West • Nationalization for Whom? • Pension Funds Control Capitalism?
A3. Random Notes –
• “Fake Nationalism, Fake Industrialism” • Handlooms Heavily Import-Dependent • Children Avoid Handicrafts • Spending like a White Man • The Condos Heroin Build • Media & Hate • Canadian Envoy Goes East • White Media Despotism • Where do Borrowed Trillions Go? • Cafes & Laundries
B. ee Focus
B1. The Case for a State Ministry of Steel – Shiran Illanperuma
B2. Plantations & the Rise of Merchant Cum Usurer Class during English Rule in SL – 1
B3. The Strength of Collective Competition in China – Wei Pan
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better to email.
• “We earn about US$12billion per year from exports but we spend US$22billion on imports.”
• “Thanks for sharing the difficult yet urgently needed ees. I should have studied politics in school.”
• “re: Wimalasurendra, the English no longer have an ‘Under Secretary of State for the Colonies’? They still have enough and more colonies under control but it’s politically incorrect to say it as it is now. Even in the 19th and 20th centuries there may have been a view that it was too brazen to call that post by its more accurate name, Under Secretary of State for the Coolies?”
• “Let us hope that the novices who are trying to sort out our economy will wake up and give some thought to our suggestions. They decide that fertilizer should be distributed but fail to understand that there’s no trained person to distribute it and no organization to attend to it… Let us hope that SL will prosper. It will if our President and PM will act. If they fail Sri Lanka is doomed.”
• ‘If children are chosen to schools according to local catchment areas, why are there so many private buses and cars outside Royal, etc, denoting outstation destinations?”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “Financial capitalism has decoupled from the capitalist economy, skyrocketing out of Earth’s orbit, leaving behind it broken lives & dreams. As England sinks into the worst recession ever, & US edges toward failed-state status, FTSE100 goes up 2% & S&P500 breaks all time record!” (see ee Economists, Varoufakis)
• “In 1980, the USA represented 56% of global capital exports, now they gobble up 54% of global capital imports. It’s like having a drug addict begging you for money – only he has a tank and can demolish your house with it if you don’t ‘lend’ it to him.”
• “There’s been a capital outflow of around $100billion in May and June from emerging and developing countries.”
• “The national bourgeoisie never stops calling for nationalization of the economy and the commercial sector. In its thinking, to nationalize does not mean placing the entire economy at the service of the nation or satisfying all its requirements. To nationalize does not mean organizing the state on the basis of a new program of social relations. For the bourgeoisie, nationalization signifies very precisely the transfer into [a few] indigenous hands of privileges inherited from the colonial period.” – Frantz Fanon
• “What happened to the National Textile Corporation? It became National Thowheed Jamat?”
• “The Anglican Church owns freehold property to the tune of billions of rupees all across the country where its churches are located, with significant acreage in Colombo 07 and Colombo 03 (two of Sri Lanka’s most expensive regions). They control a number of leading Schools not limited to Ladies, Bishop’s, TCK, and the four STCs…”
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• False Nationalism, False Internationalism is a famous underground treatise exposing so-called radicalism of the 1960s. To this, ee could pen: ‘False nationalism, False Industrialization’: Alongside the wail against import restrictions, is the headlining of various one-shot inventions, which we never ever hear about again.
Then there are the promises about various products, from pharma to rubber tyres etc, going to be made here. The government expects private businesses to initiate production, when 100 years and more of appeals to them have failed miserably.
Businessfolk are simply making ‘easy profits’ through various ‘rentier’ means: worker trafficking, drugs, luxury imports, real-estate, etc. Why should they exercise their minds and bodies anew for long-term gain. How much of their profits has Indian-stolen CEAT or Belgian Loadstar invested in making the parts of machines that make their tyres right here, or invested in their workers to learn such skills of making machines?
• Handloom is heavily import-dependent on South Indian yarn, with weaving and dyeing machines and parts – power looms, dyes, healds, reeds, shuttles and pirns all imported. There are also fewer loom makers, with timber too expensive.
In the 1970s handloom was considered an interim measure, with planned conversion to power-looms, especially in co-ops. Handlooms target high-value ‘ethnic’ creations, but all too often the cash ends up in the hands of the middleman. So what happened to the National Textile Corporation and the spinning and weaving mill in Veyangoda of the 1950s, and to other such mills? Created to supply the bulk of the cloth people wear, at reasonable prices. They are now ruined by foreign-owned MAS, Brandix etc who run the apparel ‘industry’.
• Anyone who promotes ‘handicrafts’ must investigate why artisans’ children refuse to continue the tradition, which remains low-waged, strenuous, socially stigmatized. In most industrial countries, ‘handicraft’ is now a highly machine-crafted product. Why, with greater educational opportunities, do young people try to escape the stigma of manual labor by escaping to clerical jobs in the cities? Some workers pretend to be working in supermarkets or factories, not as cleaners and caregivers. Is the allure of trishaw-driving partly due to this lack of the dignity of labor?
The legacy of English colonialism and the rentier class that dominated the economy, meant the white man here could not be seen to do physical work. They promoted a profligacy, recalled in the Sinhala saying, “To spend like a white man”. What dominates is a consumer culture of “wine, women and song”, with no sense of what a producer culture, of machines, science, technology means.
• A construction “labor contractor” delivers workers to a site, after quickly calculating in her head the cost of pouring concrete per sq.m for a floor, and the number of workers needed. Wage costs, include the requisite packets of heroin, cigarettes and plain tea per shift, which she has to provide. Many of the tall buildings in this city have been built this way over the last 40 years. The walls and floors tell a tale of sweat and other over/under-the-counter substances. The main purpose being these workers cannot organize to demand proper terms and conditions, for if they did, they’d be turned over to the police.
They have built cities they cannot afford to live in, and will instead grow old and die quickly, begging outside ‘luxury’ condominia with names like Paradise, etc.
Every so-called beggar hides a living history of the underdevelopment of some village or urban nook, and the ‘obesity’ and ‘overdevelopment evident in the cities.
• Would the corporatesallow comments like ‘Hey Muslim man, go away’ or ‘Hey Tamil man, go’? It would be labeled hate speech and erased. NGOs will get their knickers in a twist. The US embassy would demand an independent commission. The UN may fly in a Special Rapporteur. Facebook will investigate. Twitter may suspend them. And yet ‘Hey China man, take all your people’ was one such comment in a Daily Mirror article about China’s ambassador pointing out the US has huge military bases surrounding our countries.
• The Canadian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, David McKinnon is busy “sweeping through Ampara, Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa” to meet Tamil and Muslim political leaders. What else is new?
“By US law, Canada is part of the US military-industrial complex,” states Canada’s Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. When Freeland was first named Foreign Affairs Minister, a US State Department memo revealed their opinion that it showed Canada adopting an “America First foreign policy”. Why don’t we adopt a Sri Lanka First policy? (see ee Sovereignty)
• This whole NGO and ‘civil society’ business, along with privatization, deregulation, liberalization, etc, is a corporatist dagger slashing at industrial renaissance in our world, which needs the protection of a strong state. Instead, howls about ‘despotism’, ‘autocracy’, etc – racialized imperialist tropes – abound. This offensive is known as ‘The Agenda’ – to replace the call for more representative rule (by cultivators, workers) with, at first unelected NGOs, and then more corporate rule. After all, corporations are non-governmental too, ain’t they?
• Wijeya Group Financial Times’ beloved economist, WA Wijewardena, says in the first 7 months of 2020, the government and government corporations have borrowed Rs2,000 billion from the Central Bank and commercial sources, while the private sector has borrowed Rs454 billion. WAW does not state how much of this money borrowed by governments has ended up in the pockets of private banks and companies? How much laundered through tax-hideouts Panama, Cayman, how many in condos and organic restaurants, drugs, etc?
• Many hotels and restaurants are almost empty, yet there’s a proliferation of ‘niche’ luxury restaurants. They hype ‘organic’ foods with unpronounceable ‘exotic’ European names at ginormous price. This ee Business section also notes an increasing number of lawsuits related to real-estate, as the construction market caves in. Yet, condos keep blocking out the skies. Observers claim they are ‘laundries’ for drug profits and other undeclared funds, from privatizing public assets, bribery, tax avoidance etc. Such easy money seeking easy returns rarely bodes well, preventing investment in long-term plant and equipment.
B. Special Focus_
B1. The Case for a State Ministry of Steel – Shiran Illanperuma
Much is being said these days about traditional industries, and the need to protect and nurture them. But, what is a “traditional industry”?
In the Sri Lankan context, the imagery conjured by the term is that of downtrodden rural crafts folk, working with their bare hands, competing against all odds, with a slew of cheaper machine-manufactured alternatives imported from across the world.
This mentality has been amply reflected in the creation of 2 State Ministry portfolios, one held by Dayasiri Jayasekara, for Batik, Handloom and Local Apparel Industries, and another by Prasanna Ranaweera for Cane, Brass, Clay, Furniture and Rural Industry Promotion.
While Colombots have lampooned the naming of these State Ministries as ‘absurd’, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has defended them, arguing “traditional industrialists were worried due to the lack of state patronage”. Fair enough.
Proposals have been made to compel state workers to wear batik once a week, and to replace glass water bottles with clay ones. Crude. But, in all seriousness, these reflect an intuitive understanding of the need to carve out a home market for “traditional industries” to grow.
Still, one cannot help but wonder if our imagination of so-called traditional industries is limited, held back by orientalist stereotypes of the ‘backwardness’ of Asian hydraulic civilizations, and by the ‘Barefoot’ mentality, which has turned underdevelopment into an aesthetic.
The historical record shows that pre-colonial Sri Lanka was no mere peddler of cloth and clay, but a major producer and exporter of steel, production of which peaked between 700 and 1100 AD. During these years, Lanka may have produced at least 10 tons a year.
With furnaces powered by the monsoon winds, Lankan craftsmen forged high-carbon “Wootz steel” ingots which were exported to West Asia, where Damascene swordsmiths would hammer them into blades that were twice as hard as their European counterparts.
Some even speculate that the West Asian armies which fought off the first European crusades in 1095 AD, may have been armed with Lankan steel. In other words, Sri Lanka was exporting the high-tech military hardware of the time.
When the Anuradhapura civilization fell to South Indian invasions, these technologies were lost. What was left of iron and steel production was likely wiped out by the English after the Uva Rebellion of 1818, as was later done in India after the Rebellion of 1857.
We had to wait until the 1960s, when the Soviet Union gifted us with the technology to establish Lanka Sanstha Wane (Ceylon Steel Corporation), before Lanka could start making steel again. When we became a republic in 1972, our entire domestic requirement for steel was locally manufactured.
Unfortunately, the Steel Corporation never advanced to Stage 3, which would have substituted imported iron billets with billets made from the millions of metric tons of iron ore that can be mined locally in districts like Kurunegala, Ratnapura and Moneragala.
In 1996, the Steel Corporation was privatized, and the Soviet machinery now belongs to a UAE-based group. So, we have gone from exporting military hardware to West Asia, to exporting tea (and the servants to pour it), while a West Asian country owns our means of producing steel.
In 2017, Sri Lanka imported over US$80million worth of iron and steel. Clearly, here is a 2000-year-old “traditional industry” in urgent need of state patronage.
So, yes, let’s have State Ministries for batik and for clay, for potato and onion, for the whole Sunday grocery list, and the avurudu shopping list too. But let’s also have a State Ministry of Steel, so that someday, we can build the machines that the sons and daughters of our farmers, fishers, potters and weavers will operate.
A state, after all, is only as strong as its steel.
B2. Plantations & the Rise of Merchant Cum Usurer Class during English Rule in SL – 1
ee excerpts D Pathirana and C Aluthge’s A History of Underdevelopment & the Political Economy of Inflation in SL, which explores “the historical conditions which assisted the rise of an exploitative merchant-cum-usurer class in the rural economy, causing rural stratification along with the rise of Sri Lanka’s commercial bourgeoisie. It explores involvement of local people in coffee plantations, whereas existing studies underscore arrack renting in the rise of commercial bourgeoisie.
The chapter further illustrates how the ancient Sinhala were able to reconcile uneven demand for labor in paddy agriculture by combining an exchange labor system with the equal division of water-supply to fields through a centrally managed social organization, which enabled the more or less permanent release of labor to non-agricultural pursuits.
The rise of an entrepreneurial bourgeoisie within the paddy economy of Sri Lanka and their lack of agency in capitalist transformation of paddy cultivation are also examined.
The rise of a merchant-cum-usurer class as the central agent, through which the paddy surplus in the economy was monetized and shifted into towns, was intrinsically bound with the disintegration of an internally coherent system of production relations, which prevailed from the precolonial era anchored in a system of centrally orchestrated and non-stratified social relations called the ‘Purana Village’ in Sri Lanka.
English intervention through the Commutation System, which converted the paddy tax payable in kind to that of cash simultaneously with the introduction of plantations in the 1830s, initiated the collapse of a system based on internal harmony between forces and relations of production and the emergence of a more parasitic mode of production feeding on the former’s ruins.
‘…the ancient rulers of Ceylon had enforced certain customs, relating to paddy cultivation, through the gamsaba – or village councils – and these customs had helped to build up a communal machinery, by which the cultivators were able to combine for the common purpose of securing their sources of water-supply and thus continuing cultivation. These gamsabawas fell into disuse after 1833, when they were replaced by the new judicial courts under the Charter.’
It should be stated, however, from the outset that the Purana village system did undergo certain changes from the form it existed during the zenith of Dry Zone civilization in 13thC to the form it survived during the advent of English colonialists. What we underscore by the Purana village system is its peculiar form of communally controlled labor organization, equal distribution of water-supply to the fields and equal distribution of the produce among commune members, which maintained its historical continuity from the 13th to early 19th centuries, until it was abolished in 1833 by the English.
The undifferentiated character of the peasantry during the advent of English rule is further underscored by Dr Newton Gunasinghe in his treatise on the Kandyan countryside: ‘The class structure of the Kandyan countryside in this period basically consisted of a land-owning aristocracy, a non-Kandyan petty bourgeoisie and a basically undifferentiated peasantry which however contributed more and more to the stratum of landless workers.’
The absence of the integrated system of large reservoirs and village-level small tanks, which prevailed in the Dry Zone, most certainly reduced the aggregate surplus extractable from labor during the Kandyan period. The migration towards the Central Province altered the pattern of cultivation to suit the climate and geography of the region, and the latter was incapable of generating a surplus comparable to what was available during the Dry Zone civilization. This in turn increased the exploitative character of the mode of production in the Kandyan period and led to the deprivation of the peasantry which is vividly portrayed in Robert Knox’s account of the country during the mid-17thC.
The higher degree of exploitation by the monarch and the chiefs as a means of extracting a greater surplus from the peasantry, deprived the latter, and partially enabled the emergence of the sharecropping system or ande. Hand in hand with the emergence of sharecropping, an exploitative merchant-cum-usurer class entered the system of production relations as a means of sustaining the sharecropping peasant between cultivating periods by advancing them grain, holding their crop as collateral. ‘Until this Corn is ripe, the Owner is fain to go a borrowing Corn to sustain himself and Family. Which he [re]pays at the rate of 50%… a means that doth maintain many strangers and others’ (Knox)
The point we need to underscore in this light is that indebtedness, sharecropping and penetration of the merchant-cum-usurer relations within the village was not widely prevalent during the Kandyan period. Merchants cum usurers in the Kandyan kingdom were chiefly Moors and Chettiars. ‘In 1808, Governor Maitland reported the cultivator obtained his requirements of seed grain, implements, cattle and cloth from local lenders or Moor and Chetty merchants, on the security of his crop’.
The degree of their penetration into production relations was not widespread, and hence, what we mean by the Purana village is the relatively stable interaction of production forces and relations in their totality which continued into the early 19thC until its abolition by the English in 1833. Therefore continuity in production relations refers to the survival of the labor exchange system called attam and the equal distribution of water-supply to the fields called the bethma system, orchestrated mainly by a village headman.
The prevalence of this system is further indicated by the description of the cultivation process by Robert Knox as it existed during the 17thC in the Kandyan kingdom. It was a combination of cultivation in the plains fed by village tanks mainly collecting rainwater, and hill cultivation fed directly by rainwater: ‘When they Till their Grounds, or reap their Corn, they do it by whole Towns generally, all helping each other for Attoms’ (Knox).
The Purana village in its totality constituted a self-perpetuating organization of production relations that did not warrant nor demand transformation in production forces through their internal contradictions, and was a replica of self-sustaining historical inhibition. It was an undifferentiated cohesive system of social relations necessitated by exigencies of a particular mode of production and distribution.
The system was centrally orchestrated under the aegis of a village headman (vidaane). It ensured equal distribution of the harvest among community members. Therefore, social stratification did not find fertile ground to be nurtured within the Purana village system, which in turn was the protective shield warding off forces of disintegration.
Next… how an exploitative class of merchant cum usurers emerged through the gradual disintegration of the Purana village in Sri Lanka with the introduction of the Commutation System together with the advent of plantations in the 1830s under British occupation.
B3. The Strength of Collective Competition in China – Wei Pan
How did China Rise? 15 years of rural industrialization, 1980-95, was built on the Commune & Brigade Enterprises (CBEs) developing into Township & Village Enterprises (TVEs), and then Industrial Collectives.
“As with all market ventures, the possibility of failure loomed large among Township & Village Enterprises. Their casualties were heavy and frequent. Widespread cheating and lax enforcement of regulations could destroy an infant enterprise as easily as wild competition. Inexperienced farmers could well be crushed by the rudimentary market before even getting started.
Rural authorities therefore had to serve to shield peasant enterprises from losses. The capacity to endure losses differed greatly among collectives, depending on the strength of solidarity within local communities. Strong communal bonds may not have led to successful community industries, but successful community industries counted on communal bonds.
Communal solidarity is a double-edged sword for peasant societies around the world. Kinship, lineage and religious ties are well-known pillars of traditional societies, but their sanction mechanisms feature far more naked cruelty than those of modern society.
Moreover, under the influence of urbanization and industrialization, traditional ties everywhere have experienced tensions. It is futile to attempt to restore an imagined Shangri-la kind of “serenity” which has fueled the fantasies of colonial masters in the past and “preservationists of endangered cultures” today.
Three decades of communist rule demolished most of the institutionalized traditional ties. They resurfaced only sporadically and in shattered form after Party control was loosened by reforms. The implementation of family farming made communal bonds less of an issue, while communist or traditional ways of organization were to many independent farmers more of a cultural heritage than real interference in their daily life.
Communal bonds again became a compelling issue after 1984. The growth of a new structural environment drove Chinese farmers to build community industries locally. They had to organize themselves and strengthen communal bonds. Available to them were 3 alternatives: traditional, communist, and democratic. Pragmatic choice grew out of a thirst to win; peasants adopted the pre-existing organizational form that they knew best. From the US movie, I borrow the term “back to the future” to illustrate how peasants moved into the market to win the future by returning to the past.
A “Back-to-the-Future” Village in Jiangsu – Huaxi Village in Huaxi Township, Jiangyin County (now Jiangyin City), is the “Premier (Richest) Village” in Jiangsu Province. It was Daqiuzhuang’s only rival for the title of National “Premier Village” in the 1990s. In 1994, Huaxi had 600 mu of farmland managed by only 6 peasants, 1,467 residents in 320 households, and a migrant workforce of 3,500 workers. By 2002, Huaxi’s workforce surpassed 10,000 workers, and income reached 6 billion yuan. Its income for 2003 was 8bn yuan. If not talking too big, the annual income of each household was 25 million yuan, even with a profit of only 5%, annual income per family was still 1.75mn yuan, about US$220,000.
In the mid-1990s, Huaxi Village, like Daqiuzhuang, was a favorite of the central government and the official media, being visited by nearly all top leaders. Its development was very rapid: 0.5 billion yuan revenue in 1992, 1bn in 1993, 1.5bn in 1994, and nearly 3bn in 1995. The village became a legend when it encouraged and subsidized all its families to purchase new China-made VW cars in January 1993, and bankrolled “peasant vacations abroad” the following month. It built a flower-garden-like community with a corridor of 3 km (nearly 2km imitating Beijing’s Summer Palace). Cash deposits of village families in 1994 featured a fairly large gap of 50,000 to 500,000 yuan, complying with the official policy “Let some capable people become rich first”. The village counted 137 Party members in 5 branches among the total 320 households.
By building a theme park in the village, Huaxi was also an early advocate of restoring “traditional family values” – a new love of the official media. The small community completed its transition from a peasant society, after “peasants” there moved into their assigned and very spacious new apartments (200-400sq.m each).
Huaxi used to be one of the poorest villages in the region. This was the origin of the Huaxi legend under the leadership of Wu Renbao. Wu Renbao was born to a poor peasant family in 1929. When he was 14, his parents sold his younger brother to survive a local famine after crop failure, shaping Wu into a diehard Communist Party supporter, and later, a land reform leader. In 1952, he started the first “mutual aid team” of the 13 poorest households in the village. Wu joined the CP and became the village head in 1953. He was the village Party Secretary for 48 years since the village Party branch was set up in 1957.
In 1961 Wu proposed an ambitious plan to level and connect all village farmland and build a centralized residential center, so as to expand farmland and enable stable yield. Many people opposed his idea, as they remembered that in 1957 leveling 1 mu of land took 3 teams working for 3 months. It took Wu 2 years to persuade the villagers to accept his bold idea. He explained that, if they failed to do what he planned, the village in 60 years would be full of graves and houses without farmland, while his blueprint could be turned into reality by 15 years of hard work. Many peasants who had left the village after the recent famine supported his plan and returned to help implement it.
The work started in 1963. In 1964 Chairman Mao called for agriculture to “Learn from Dazhai”. Wu visited Dazhai and was surprised to discover that Huaxi was doing exactly what Dazhai had done – creating level farmland. Encouraged by the Dazhai spirit, Wu pressed Huaxi peasants to work even harder, day and night. Riding the new high tide of “agrarian radicalism” of 1968 when the 10th Anniversary of the People’s Commune was celebrated, Wu centralized labor allocation by restoring brigade accounting. The move sped up the land leveling, and like most model rural cadres of the time, Wu did no less labor than other peasants. Following the Dazhai model, Huaxi also organized an “Iron Girls’ Team” under Zhao Maomei, publicized by New China Daily – the provincial government newspaper, like Dazhai’s Guo Fenglian was praised by People’s Daily – the central government newspaper.
However, Huaxi was bitterly criticized by peasants of the surrounding villages. Its hard labor requirement deterred young women outside from marrying Huaxi men. Huaxi’s young women also had trouble marrying outsiders, who feared they had internal injuries after hard labor under Wu’s plan. The village was shaken by the difficulties of young Huaxi people finding spouses.
Wu then got his elder son Wu Xiedong to return from Jiangxi to join in leveling the land. Wu began to improve food supply for village laborers. He built a spinning mill with 2 manual spinning machines that produced cloth to sell, bought a small motorized boat which did some transport work to earn cash, and set up a small feed processing mill that earned 5,000 yuan each year. For 3 years he had every female worker record her weight before the busy season, and after the season weighed them again, and announced their weights had all increased, thus squashing rumors about overwork. Gradually, the community stabilized.
Huaxi completed its 15-year plan in 1972, only 8 years after its launch. A new rural apartment building, flat and connected farmland with 1-ton grain yield per mu (the highest in China), a 1km main canal, and an electric pumping station, all indicated a better life than that in neighboring brigades.
Huaxi became a famous national model in the “learn from Dazhai” campaign, and Wu was promoted to Party Secretary of Jiangyin County – only to be ousted at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Yet the Huaxi village-brigade Party branch kept electing him village Secretary. Today Wu still believes he did “basically the right thing” in pushing the county’s “learn from Dazhai” movement, and has no regrets about it.
However, the 8-year long construction of farmland exhausted collective accumulation, and when the mechanization movement started in 1971 Huaxi could not afford to purchase as many tractors and chemical fertilizer as other brigades. Wu desperately needed cash. In 1972, with the help of a retired worker from a county factory, Huaxi set up a mechanics factory in a small 4-room workshop, which made 50,000 yuan in the first year. After that, Huaxi’s brigade industries – like many in southern Jiangsu – began to thrive.
The one thing that made Huaxi stand out among the villages was the collective spirit derived from developing the farmland. Along with the wealth accumulated by brigade industries, it enabled Huaxi to ignore the household-responsibility (decollectivized) farming drive of the post-Mao era. There was no pressure inside the village for change, since rural living there was already the best in China. A couple of households wanting to adopt household farming were forced to leave the village; Wu did not want to allow them to enjoy socialist collective benefits while earning money outside for themselves…
(from: Behind China’s Economic Miracle – the Coalition of Rural Collective Industries & Grassroots Authorities, Wei Pan, Beijing, 2015)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Will Moragoda deliver a ‘Sri Lanka First’?
‘Will Moragoda be able to subdue America’s bullying of Sri Lanka in Geneva …’
• The 13th Amendment has Indian Hegemony written all over it
• Genealogy of Concept and Genesis of 13th Amendment – 1 & 2
‘The immediate compulsion that forced President J.R. Jayewardene to present the 13th Amendment to the Parliament was India’s coercive diplomacy against Sri Lanka, which was known as ‘Parippu Diplomacy.’
• Island Special Correspondent Says Don’t Forget, Moragoda, US & India Helped Sri Lanka
• India asks TNA why they postponed provincial eletions
• An attempt to rediscover historical demarcation of provincial boundaries
‘Inclusion of Prof. G.H. Peiris in constitution making committee’
• How To Determine The Security Threat To India?
• Foreign Diplomats ruled Sri Lanka from 2015 to 2019
• US Ambassador calls on Speaker
‘US Ambassador Teplitz paid a courtesy call on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, accompanied by USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman and Political Officer Geoffrey Chanin of the Embassy.’
• Canadian High Commissioner Sweeping Ampara, Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa
• Ontario Bill 104 2019 for creation of “ Tamil Genocide Education Week”
• Now, London concerned about detention of lawyer allegedly involved in Easter Sunday carnage
• Japanese Ambassador meets Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development
• UNHR Chief says 20A may negatively impact on independence of institutions
• Ms Bachelet’s troubles
• Lanka battles UNHRC: Geneva Chief’s comments unwarranted and pre-judgmental
• Foreign Minister briefs Cabinet on Govt. response to UNHRC
• No decision to withdraw from UNHRC, government clarifies
• Five UN Special Rapporteurs raise concerns with Govt. on harassment of journalist Dharisha Bastians
• United Nations told “Sri Lanka’s Civil Society is being harassed and intimidated”
‘This Core Group statement was made by Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro & England.’
• Court dismisses taxi driver’s bid to remove LTTE from Malaysia’s terrorist list
• Wigneswaran’s tribalist shenanigans
‘Attempt to falsify the long history of the country of the Sinhalese (the unrecorded part of it is much longer than the recorded part, as being archaeologically established at present)’
• Wigneswaran up against a wall of scholarly opposition
• Sivajilingam detained for questioning
‘They said he had attended a commemoration of LTTE cadres at Kopai this morning’
• The Wiggy-Fonny Adipudi – David agrees Tamil Oldest Language…
• Consequences of the commemoration of an LTTE hero’s death
‘Besides exacerbating Tamil-Sinhala ethnic tension in Sri Lanka, the commemoration of Thileepan’s death could sour the Lankan Tamils’ relationship with India’
• Those who commemorate terrorists should be given maximum punishment: Gunaratna
• India subtracted: Colombo, the Tamils and constitutional change – Jayatilleka
‘Strategic political folly is not a Tamil monopoly. It is mirrored and matched by the [Sinhala] supremacist regime.
• Erasing The Eelam Victory Part 17 C7 & C8
• Possible FETO infiltration in Sri Lanka
‘Sri Lanka has a very strong NGO movement which has stretched its tentacles to every field such as politics, research, international relations, human rights, peace building, reconciliation, good governance, election monitoring, environment, art, literature, culture, media … the list is too long to mention’
• Government and MCC: Give us clarity!
‘Udaya Gammanpila claimed that 70% of the draft agreement was good and 30% bad. It’s easy to pluck numbers out of thin air. He hasn’t detailed the good and neither the bad. He ought to.’
• MCC – A Crime like no other!
• How to torpedo MCC compact
• Why the Hurry About 20a? – GL
‘chief among them, indisputably, is the maintenance of law and order’
• A Political Solution – Who needs what Kind of Solution?
‘However, it is evident that without a robust economy where the benefits flow to all levels of society, a political solution – whatever it might be – will be without owners.’
• Trapped between a rock and a hard place – David
‘Don’t exaggerate Lanka’s strategic importance to the Great Powers’
• Chief Justice Burnside (1882) rejected Vellala “show of force and terror” and confirmed one law, one nation.
• The Baseless & Diabolical Claim Of Tamil Genocide – A New Zealand Perspective
• Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions Abroad
‘There was a time when even diplomatic officers were allowed to seek ‘political asylum’ in the UK. Such conditions have since changed.’
• Importance of emerging economies to foreign policy thinking
• A Proposal for a new Paradigm in Foreign Policy for Sri Lanka
‘The “Pivot to Asia” by the US poses challenges that SL simply cannot face alone. The BRI offers a basis for an alliance with nations similarly situated to SL, which is in this country’s interest to explore.’
• Ramayana and BJP: The Subtle Art of Propaganda
• Pakistan: Blasphemy As Pretext
• China’s Belt & Road Initiative creating a new continent “Eurasia”: Lankan communist leader
• The Reemergence of China! – Palitha Kohona
‘Beijing’s increasingly authoritative approach at home and assertiveness abroad has also alarmed many. The West is unfamiliar with Asians who strike back.’
• Sino-Lanka ties go beyond economic relations – Chinese Envoy
• US deployed military bases in the Indian Ocean – Chinese Envoy
‘Industrial development is also very important for the whole nation, which is one of the biggest experience China learned from its 40 years reform and opening up. The potentials of Sri Lanka’s industrialization are huge.’
• Sri Lanka’s Port City says investments not affected by US sanctions on China firms
• Beijing’s Belt and Road will change the face of South Asia
• Ladakh Buddhist Monk Leads A Campaign for Peaceful Resolution of Border Conflict
“I’m very much disappointed with most of the Indian media. They promote hate, war and violence, and mislead the public”
• Chinese Embassy in SL slams reports that COVID-19 was man made in Wuhan
• Sri Lanka’s ‘stroll’ on the corridors of world power
‘China has treaded cautiously, but at the same time has managed to peacefully settle border issues-12 out of 14-with other countries.’
• Iran-China Partnership May Hammer Final Nail in Coffin of US’ Maximum Pressure Policy
• 27th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held
‘The 27th ASEAN Regional Forum was represented by Malaysia, Canada, Indonesia, USA, The Philippines, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Thailand, China, European Union, Bangladesh, Timore Leste, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russia and Viet Nam’
• China’s Real Threat
‘The real threat to the US comes from the rise of Chinese technology companies. Last year, China’s firms and scientists registered more patents than their counterparts in the U.S., while Chinese scientists have now published more articles in scientific journals.’
• ‘Religious operations’: How English propagandists used Islam to wage cultural Cold War
‘Declassified documents reveal how England propaganda unit used Friday sermons, newspapers and novels to spread anti-Communist messages across West Asia’
• First UAE, then Bahrain and which Arab nation is next in line to make ‘peace’ with Israel?
• US-Kurdish oil deal breaks International Law – Russian Foreign Minister
• US government blowing up Venezeula Oil Refineries…
• The Controlled Demolition of the US Empire
“Whether it’s somebody doing this in Big Pharma or whether it’s Eric Holder being the attorney general under Obama and then rotating back into Covington as a reward for not prosecuting the big banks, the corruption goes to the core of what is destroying, but not limited to, the United States.”
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• CID Sgt. tipped off Harin’s father about Easter attack a day earlier
‘When NTJ Physical Instructor Army Mohideen was arrested, he had CID Nandalal’s number’
• Yahapalana govt. came to power with minority votes & officials felt helpless – Ex- Defence secy.
• Recording of confidential conversations a matter for concern – Media Minister
• Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for our safety
• US signs defence cooperation deal with Maldives
• Chairman of Court of Appeal recuses himself from hearing the case against Gnanasara Thera
• Crushing LTTE: Gotabaya’s armed forces shape up
• Rear Admiral Kapila Samaraweera appointed Navy Chief of Staff
‘Samaraweera has followed advanced courses in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and USA on several occasions and has specialised in Anti-Submarine Warfare at PNS Bahadur in Karachi, Pakistan. The senior officer followed the International Maritime Officers’ Course at the Coast Guard Training Centre, Yorktown, USA and is also an alumnus of the National Defence College, Bangladesh’
• PM presented with report on 46 children ‘incarcerated’ with their mothers
• Lapses in Policing and Prosecuting Drug Lords
• New laws to seize bank accounts and vehicles of drug barons
• Three buses owned by ‘Ladiya’ seized by Sri Lanka Police
• Strict action against contractors supplying drugs to construction workers
• 14 foreign nationals arrested over online swindle worth Rs 60 mn
• Sri Lanka Army to take over printing of driving licenses from 01 January
• More SBS combatants complete training
‘At the 27th intake of the Navy’s Special Boats Squadron (SBS), on the successful completion of their training, at the SBS Headquarters, Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee’
• Australia continues to support Sri Lanka’s National Defence College
‘In the early stages of the college’s establishment, Australia seconded a Royal Australian Navy Captain to support curriculum development staff to design the strategic studies courses offered by the college. Currently… the Australian Department of Defence is sponsoring a Sri Lankan Navy officer to study a Masters of National Security Policy at the Australian National University’s National Security College for 18 months.’
• China assures assistance for developing Sri Lankan judiciary
• Twelve new High Court judges appointed
• COVID-19 Adds a New Dimension to an Undeclared Third World War
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the devastating potential of viruses as a weapon of mass destruction. The strategic competition among major powers has already pushed the world into an undeclared “Third World War” with changed dimensions and instruments of warfare.’
• Coronavirus: The lost six weeks when US failed to contain outbreak
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Was Sri Lanka forced into a ‘Balance Sheet Recession’? – De Zilwa
‘Despite the glaring evidence of a declining GDP trend, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka ably supported by the IMF continued to drum up the rhetoric on the need for austerity measures, as a solution for Sri Lanka’s economic pains. The announcement sent shivers down the spines of many alternative schooled economists….many such growth retarding monetary and fiscal policy tools and false theories have been used extensively against developing countries by developed countries, preventing and stifling their economic development journeys.’
• Sri Lanka May Need A ‘Bad Bank’ To Drive Restructuring Of Businesses – Arjuna Mahendran
‘The branches of two key Indian banks closed their business operations in Sri Lanka. ICICI Bank and Axis Bank are two of the larger privately owned banks in India….The Peoples’ Bank and the Bank of Ceylon, which jointly hold about 40 percent of the assets of the entire banking system, are saddled with enormous non-performing loans from a variety of state-owned enterprises, principally Sri Lankan airlines, the CEB and the CPC.’
• The fuss about money printing: How far is this charge valid? – Wijewardena
‘In Sri Lanka, there are basically three parties that borrow from the banking system: the government borrows from the Central Bank as well as from commercial banks. During the first 7 months of the year, the government has borrowed Rs. 1,400 billion…yet during 2020, the loss of tax revenue will be about Rs. 600 billion. To compensate for this loss, the government was forced to borrow from the banking system…Government corporations in the first seven months of 2020, have borrowed Rs. 500 … borrowings by the private sector, made up of companies and individuals, had been Rs. 454 billion’
• Reviving the economy in a changing global economic environment – Sanderatne
‘We cannot expect to sell the same merchandise as before to western countries and have to reorient our merchandise exports to meet new requirements. Second, new export markets in the East offers a new prospect of increased export earnings. Third, earnings from tourism and remittances from abroad cannot be expected to be substantial for the next few years.
• Why nations fail – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
‘The two main pillars on which the prosperity of a nation rest are the policy and institutions, while both are the choices of the leaders of the nation.’
• Sri Lanka must accelerate HDI with better nutrition and learning outcomes: World Bank
‘The World Bank Group’s 2020 Human Capital Index finds that a child born in SL today will be 60% as productive when she grows up as compared to if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
• Stockmarket booms while Economy Crashes – Varoufakis
• The New Tell-Tale Sign Market Capitalism Is Collapsing
• Ice Cube: US Printed $3Trillion Without Any Inflation, Government & Banks Colluding Against Poor
• Debt servicing challenges for LDCs and the way forward
‘Today developing and poorest countries of the world host 71% of the global population and account for 33% of the global GDP. As at August 2020, emerging markets and developing countries have about $ 11 trillion in external debt and about $ 3.9 trillion in debt service due in 2020. Of this, about $ 3.5 trillion is for principal repayments. Around $ 1 trillion is debt service due on medium- and long-term debt, while the remainder is short-term debt, much of which is trade finance.
• IMF invites youth to take part in annual meeting
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• “We earn about US$ 12 billion per year from exports but we spend US$ 22 billion on imports”
• Cabinet nod to table 4 gazettes to restrict imports
• Sri Lanka’s Top 10 Imports
• President criticizes both public and private sectors for slow pace of work
• Cabinet minister accuses Sri Lanka central bank of not prioritising customer well-being
‘No country in the world achieved development by purchasing power at high costs for its industries and there is no country that keeps the spirit of entrepreneurship alive with the kind of policies adopted by Sri Lankan banks.’
• 2021 Draft Appropriation Bill in second week of October: PM Lists Priorities
• EU calls on Cabraal
• US calls on Cabraal
• Freedom of movement of capital important for investor confidence among foreigners –Cabraal
• Govt. to woo foreign investment into bonds with no exchange loss guarantee
‘The Central Bank this week said the total outstanding exposure of foreign investment in the rupee-denominated Government securities market remained low at $ 69 million by end-July.
• Capital market told to step out of comfort zone and think big
‘This wonderful stock exchange has remained almost stagnant for so many years. We are around 200 (companies) something, and we have been in this number for the past 30 years… would like to see the number going up to 500,”…market capitalisation that currently hovers around US$ 12.5 billion, a contraction of about 50 percent from 2014 levels… Cabraal highlighted the importance of other boards targeting certain specific business sectors such as startups, tech firms and SMEs.’
• Govt. says import restrictions imposed to honour debt repayments will pay off in long-term
• Lanka calls for UN intervention to help poor countries
• Sri Lanka falls into massive Rs. 3 trillion debt abyss
‘if the Central Bank fails to secure foreign financing then the reserves will fall to $3.7 billion and the government will find it difficult to avoid default, he said.
• Sri Lanka forex reserves rise to US$7.4bn in Aug 2020
• Sri Lanka’s exports drop slightly in August 2020
‘Coconut based products, Electricals & Electronic Components, Spices, and Essential Oils and Food & Beverages recorded a positive growth…services exports estimated by EDB which includes ICT/BPM, Construction, Financial services and Transport & Logistics declined’
• Sri Lankan economy to shrink 5.5% this year: ADB
‘Maldivian economy projected to contract 20%, India 9%; Bangladesh remains outlier with Bhutan & Nepal’
• GDP growth to record steepest contraction at -5.8-pct for 2020E; W-shape recovery ahead
• Improving global funding conditions aid emerging market recovery, but pressure remains for lowest-rated sovereigns: Moody’s
• Developing Asia’s economic growth to contract in 2020: ADB
• Australia seeks to further boost trade & ties with India to cut dependence on China
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Minimum employable age brought down to 16
• TUs, employers in deadlock
‘TUs asked the employers to provide information that they could then assess if workers need to be given half salaries. The agreement to pay reduced wages to workers at home is to conclude by the end of this month. They want information like the number of workers dismissed, those in employment, the order situation and the plans for the future.’
• Protest against moves to relocate Ratnapura labour office in Avissawella
• Minister orders a report on employee cuts during COVID-19 pandemic
‘Minister had rejected a request by the employers’ associations to extend the pay scheme, permitted by the government for employers to pay employees half of their salaries until this month’
• PHIs to be given opportunity to obtain degrees
• Army orientation-training programme for 50,000 graduates begins today
• Better social protection for self-employed persons
‘Self-employed, in Sri Lanka was reported at 42.02 per cent of the total employed population or 3.31 million people, according to official data. More than 60 per cent of Sri Lankan workers are employed as daily wage earners. Several million more workers are self-employed, earning their living daily in jobs such as vendors and three-wheel taxi operators.
• Sri Lanka job seekers should be adaptable: Unilever, LOLC, DIMO, CIMA, etc
• Gemunu threatens strike over trishaws and motorbikes being pressed into bus lane
• Asian pensions low proportionate to GDP – ADB Institute
Sri Lanka was noted as a region that did contribute Rs 5000 to needy people during the pandemic. The large informal sector with no pension saving and little social security net in the broader geographic region is a cause for concern to the economists.
• Govt to conduct island-wide survey on Samurdhi beneficiaries
‘survey covering all 14,022 Grama Niladhari Divisions spread across the country’s 332 Divisional Secretariat Divisions.’
• Hike in merchandise exports and workers’ remittances in July ’20
• Young Lankan Housemaid allegedly tortured to death in Kuwait
• 12 Lankans arrested for attempting to travel to Canada with forged visa
• Sri Lanka to do utmost to prevent human trafficking
• Statements recorded on sexual bribe at Condominium Management Authority in 2015
• Appeal to repatriate 50,000 unemployed migrant workers
• Workers’ remittances up 12.2% in July
• Abans FMI offers innovative Integrated Facility Management to the Department of Labour
• Teacher union says ICT has no department director
• English medium: State and International schools
‘The violence exhibited by university raggers, drug gangs, Facebook parties, video game players, etc. are not the creation of village schools, but are cancers mutating in the entire socio-economic set-up, perpetuated by pressing hardships, the rat race for wealth and overall economic stagnation.’
• An Open Letter to Dr.Kohona – Designated Sri Lankan Ambassador to China
‘Sri Lanka can expand (if not started yet) and that is selling Education’ to Chinese students.’
• India and Sri Lanka discuss skills development
‘Under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme, around 400 slots are reserved for SL annually.’
• Foreign-educated graduates also to be considered for state jobs
• Education Minister highlights the need to change education to fit modern job market
• European Union funds 9 Capacity Building for Higher Education projects in Sri Lanka
• The Imminent Requirement to Regulate Online Education Providers in Sri Lanka
• South Asia is home to 40% of the world poor,
• CCP announces plan to take control of China’s private sector
‘President Xi issues ‘important instructions’ to all regions to boost party control over private enterprise and rejuvenate the nation; all firms will need employees from the party to boost law abidance and moral standards’
• Corporations Threatened by Superannuation funds?
‘Not-for-profit industry superannuation funds — which include business and union representative directors in equal measure — now rule the roost…’
• Canadian Auto Workers Fight for Contract Transparency
‘Though the collective agreement is one of the most important documents to shape a worker’s life, Canadian auto workers at General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, and Ford are not allowed to see it before we are asked to ratify it. Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada, represents nearly 17,000 auto workers at the Detroit Three.’
• Trade Unions Need New Strategies
• The History of the US Workers’ Unemployment Insurance Bill
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• Rural sector transformation
‘The estate and rural population in Sri Lanka are the largest share in South Asia, which is around 82%…
The gender ratio in rural sector is more than 92% [????]…The highest poverty rate was recorded in Northern, Eastern, Uva, Sabaragamuwa, and Central provinces, well above the national rate of 4.1…there are over 20 ministries providing support and services for MSMEs and each and every ministry has its own strategies.’
• Farmers’ issues to be solved soon: NCP Governor
‘the government has halted the importation of 16 crop varieties in order to boost local production.’
• No increase in certified maximum price of rice
• Sri Lanka to import 100,000 MT of rice to maintain buffer stock
• Sithamu’ Farmer Assocs. to be implemented in North: Mahindananda
• Relief for Northern farmers affected by Cyclone Amphan
• Privatizing Water? Speed Water Distribution Centre opens in Anuradhapura
• Lack of clean drinking water in Matara & Vavuniya
• Two sluice gates of Upper Kotmale Reservoir opened
• Gammadda Door to Door visits Galle, Matara, Anuradhapura and Mannar
• Sri Lanka coconut auction prices fall for third week
• State Minister climbs coconut tree
• A fruit which saved Sri Lankans from starvation
‘Jackfruit is also the heaviest fruit in the world’
• Protest march calling for ban on cattle slaughter
• Veggie prices bounce to new highs on lack of fertiliser
• SL Food Processors Association & European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka sign MoU
• India-Sri Lanka Current Business Environment & Opportunities for Joint Collaborations for Agri & Processed Food Sector’
• India bans onion exports as prices treble in a month
‘India is the world’s biggest exporter of onions, a staple of South Asian cooking.’
• Rules to verify origin of goods imported under FTA to take effect on September 21
‘In 2019, the DRI had found a large-scale fraud wherein Areca nut from a third non-FTA country was being imported into India’
• 10 arrested with 33,000Kgs of turmeric in three container trucks
• Two Customs officers arrested for smuggling out turmeric consignment in custody
• Mahaweli settlers to receive land deeds this year – State Minister Siripala Gamalath
• Squatters on State lands to be allowed to submit ownership bid
• Bitumix geared to serve rain guard sealant market in rubber plantation sector
• A Story from Coffee. Ideas for our economic revival.
• Tense situation over human-elephant conflict in Ampara
• Ceylon tea risks losing Iranian market to India
‘India has upped its tea exports to Iran despite US sanctions…Iran has also been increasing its domestic tea production to decrease reliance on imports.’
• President requests tea industry not to tarnish ‘Ceylon Tea’ brand name
• NARA identifies places for trawling amid protests from fishermen
• BOI signs agreement to set up a sea cucumber processing factory in Jaffna
• Scottish Oceanpick donates Seabass fingerlings to fishing communities
‘A joint venture between Aberdeen Holding, Kames Fish Farming Ltd. of Scotland’
• President instructs to implement plans to meet domestic liquid milk demand
• President discusses measures to boost dairy and poultry industries
‘Under 40% of country’s annual liquid milk requirement produced locally, 85% total liquid milk production provided by small-scale dairy farmers’
• Extraordinary impairment charges drive Ceylon Tea Brokers into the red
‘Ceylon Tea Brokers origins go back to 2005 when the Captal Alliance Group acquire the long established produce broking firm of De Silva, Peiris and Abeywardena. Major shareholders are Ashthi Holdings (30.39%), WAT Fernando (26.78%), Jetwing Travels ( 18.68%), Shiromal Cooray (5.98%), Associated Electrical Corporation (2.96%), and CPR Perera/Mrs. D. Perera (1.92%) The directors of the company are: Messrs. CPR Perera (Chairman), RJN de Mel (Deputy Chairman), WAT Fernando (MD), DGW de Silva (CEO), KHS Deshapriya (COO),Ms. Shiromal Cooray,, HMS Perera, BRL Fernando, DH Madawala, KAD Fernando, HTD Nonia and Z Mohamed.
• Another earth tremor recorded in Kandy on Friday: GSMB
• Met Dept. in a storm: More than US$ 2m down the drain
• Danish firm Grundfos remains resilient in Sri Lanka market
‘supplying solutions for water treatment and flood control to water utilities in the country, as well as solar pumping solutions for the agriculture sector’
• Indigenous community leader warns of deforestation consequences
• Case filed against MP Kiriella’s daughter for clearing an echo sensitive area in Hanthana
• 100 year old tree cut down under the guise of renovating agrarian tank in A’pura
• Meeting attended by Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister closed for media
• Authorities unable to see forest for the trees!
‘Land acquisitions in Hanthana and Knuckles Mountain ranges’
• Opposition accuses governing party-men of felling forests and violating sanctuaries
• Court orders to investigate former chairman of Arachchikattuwa and obtain a warrant regarding bulldozing Anavilundawa sanctuary
• An appeal to support Animals’ Welfare and Protection Association’s sterilisation programs
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• Govt. to support local auto assembly with 30% locally made components
‘The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Sri Lanka Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association and the Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association of India (ACMA) back in 2017 has supported the SLACMA in various ways…Sri Lankan component manufacturing has entered the global supply chain by the technical collaboration between Ideal Auto Seating and MSKH India, a joint venture of Magna Worldwide, the largest automotive component manufacturer in the world. Magna Worldwide has its presence in 28 countries with 169,000 employees and 338 manufacturing plants.’
• Gammanpila vows to find oil and gas at last
• Cabinet nod for Emirates National Oil C. of Singapore to import Merban crude oil
• Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC appoints Muhammad Najam Shamsuddin as new CEO
• Kishu promoted to Group Managing Director of Dreamron Group
‘18 years as the Managing Director/CEO of Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC and Chevron Ceylon…Dreamron Group of Companies is into cosmetics, hair care, skin care, toiletries products and perfume market…Raw materials are sourced from USA, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, UK, Japan’
• Indian Oil Corporation -chartered ship was carrying 270,000 tonnes of oil en route to Odisha
• Sri Lanka Laugfs terminal handles 400,000MT LP Gas, 60-pct re-exports
• 70% of electricity should be generated from renewable energy by 2030: Prez
• “Renewable Energy Dominance” – Not a hallucinating looney vision!
• The Power Game
• Govt. trying to restore 165 MW Kelanitissa combined cycle power plant, which broke down
• Govt. to call bids for 300MW LNG Power Plant
• Sri Lanka Manufacturing and Services sectors continue expansion in August 2020
• A coordinated response will aid global and Sri Lankan maritime post-COVID recovery
‘The region sees some 60,000 ships passing through annually. In 2018, SL accounted for 24% of container traffic in the South Asian region…this success is attributed to Colombo Port.’
• Sri Lanka has potential to become one of world’s leading maritime hubs – President
• Welcome the Presidents move to develop Sri Lanka as the maritime hub of the Indain Ocean
‘blessed with physical facilities for first class harbours right round its maritime belt.’
• New warehouses, fuel tanks, docking bay to make Colombo transshipment hub: President
• President authorized the construction of a docking bay in Beruwala
• Legal implications on claiming damages by SL under international law
• Locally-manufactured Gabapentin debuts today
• Foundation stone laid to construct SL’s first-ever insulin producing factory in Koggala
• 2 new factories to produce pharmaceuticals and tyres to be set up in Hambantota district
• Sri Lanka to set up new industrial zone for Gampaha-Kegalle
‘It will be open for assembly of electronic components, packaging material, value added agricultural products, rubber and plastic, apparels and pharmaceuticals. There were 32 industrial parks under the Ministry of Industries. Private businesses have invested 36.5 billion rupees in them and the state has invested 4.5 billion rupees for infrastructure’
• CEAT Kelani Holdings is considered one of the most successful India-Sri Lanka joint ventures
• Chinese Government US$ 600,000 for Herbal lab
• State banks could be game changers for Sri Lanka artisan craft industry: PM
‘urged state banks to facilitate financing to skilled rural craft artisans’
• Blackstone, Partners Group Said In Race to Buy Piramal Glass
‘Piramal Enterprises is also in pharmaceuticals and financial services.’
• Restrictions imposed on importation of machinery parts adversely affected manufacturing
• Import expenditure on mobile phones, pharmaceuticals, sugar increased in July: CBSL
‘Telecommunication devices (mainly mobile phones) and medical and pharmaceuticals….food and beverages…led by import of sugar, fats and oils (mainly coconut oil) and vegetables (mainly lentils)…Iimport expenditure on telecommunication devices (mainly mobile phones) has increased by 75.1%, medical and pharmaceuticals by 24.9%, Sugar and confectionery by 206.4%, vegetables by 7.8%, and other food and beverages by 50.7% %…
• Sri Lanka auto workshops say they can fix state vehicles at a lower cost
• SL vehicle imports drop by 93.6% in July; lowest monthly outlay since Dec 2009
• Sri Lanka vehicle registrations plunge 45-pct in August after import controls
• Motorcar registrations plunge in July; commercial vehicles steady
‘The country had 17, 493 units of vehicles registered in August, lowest monthly figure in more than at least a decade or so…large tractor registrations recorded 428 units in August, up from 393 units in July, and significantly up from 183 units 12 months ago. “Tafe is the category leader with a 40 percent share followed by Mahindra with 25 percent share,” Jafferjee said. Meanwhile hand tractors, heavy trucks, medium trucks, mini trucks and pickup trucks remained relatively strong…“The import bans are not applicable to agriculture, service and construction-related vehicles, which explains a slightly different trend in these categories,” Jafferjee said.
• Need a significant export market in Asia – EDB Chairman
• Sri Lanka exports decline 8.3 percent in August 2020
• Sri Lanka’s trade deficit narrows in July 2020 as imports decline and exports rise
• Construction of 100,000 km of rural roads will be completed in 2024
• Construction work on the first section of the Central Expressway begins with Chinese funds
• MAGA starts work on Rs. 3.1 b housing complex of 624 units at Narahenpita
‘MAGA is engaged as a design and build contractor to complete construction of the housing complex funded by the Government and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)’
• Five new EPZs in next two years
‘with a strong emphasis on attracting electronics, information technology, automotive, electrical equipment, rubber products and pharmaceuticals.’
• Govt. to expand cargo village at BIA with Rs. 2 b investment
• Increasing local tyre production but shortage persists
• ICTA signs MOU with Daraz
‘To enable SMEs to extend their local market presence while also work on entering overseas markets by promoting new business opportunities. Jayantha de Silva, Chairman,ICTA, Chief Executive Officer of ICTA-Mahinda B. Herath, Head of Transformationat ICTA- Sameera Jayawardena, Rakhil Fernando- Managing Director of Kaymu Lanka, Head of Partnership at Kaymu Lanka -Dulika Jayamanna and Head of Seller community Praveen Rukshan Xavier were present at this signing.
• 24.43 million mobile phone subscribers in Sri Lanka as at December 2018
‘As at January 2019, 13.5 million mobile phones equipped with 17.9 million active SIM cards’
• Sri Lanka mobile network Dialog adopts QR code payments
‘enable payments at over 50,000 merchants around the country….eZ Cash, operates under the license from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), and was set up under the Payments and Settlements Act No 28 of 2005, to send and receive money.’
• With a ministry of its own now, Sri Lanka’s Batik industry is poised for growth
• Fabric and apparel accessory manufacturers want furnace oil price reduced
‘Fabric and Apparel Accessory Manufacturers Association (FAAMA) pointed out that Sri Lanka needs at least $3.3 billion worth of fabric and accessories to cater to the $5.1 billion export market, but the country only produces $550 million worth of fabric and accessories at present. Therefore, fabrics and accessories worth $ 2.8 billion are still dependent on imports…Utility/energy accounts for 30% of the total cost in textile manufacturing…Currently many manufacturers are using Biomass Boilers, which have a higher carbon footprint, but are cheap. Accordingly, biomass boilers only require Rs. 500,000 worth of wood while furnace oil requirement is Rs. 3 million.’
• UNDP and Brandix partner to promote Sustainable Biomass Energy
• ‘Scaling Innovations in Cellulosic Recycling project launched’
‘Laudes Foundation, Birla Cellulose, Kering, PVH Corp. and Target join the Fashion for Good initiated project… partners will collaborate with innovators, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company, Phoenxt, Renewcell and Tyton Bio Sciences.. 4 of these innovators will be converted at Birla Cellulose’s state of the art pilot plants’
• India’s import regulations to protect industries target Korea after China: report
• Temasek Foundation of Singapore donates one million Livinguard face masks
• China’s Real Threat
‘The real threat to the US comes from the rise of Chinese technology companies. Last year, China’s firms and scientists registered more patents than their counterparts in the U.S., while Chinese scientists have now published more articles in scientific journals.’
• Lessons from the Gig Economy for Transforming Public Services
‘the principles of platform technology could be used by governments to transform the way public services are delivered, taking advantage of the way that they efficiently connect users with the services that they want.’
• How about Jeffrey? Canada town of Asbestos reveals shortlist for new name
‘A town in Quebec named after the deadly substance that was for years mined there…’
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• 150 people have committed suicide due to threats by lenders
• Finance Houses Association Claim Seizers Follow Process
‘NBFI’s are funded largely by public deposits and often have to pay higher rates in order to attract deposits away from the banking system’
• ETI & SANASA (Gampaha) depositors voice concerns over fraud
• Sri Lanka finance leasing NPLs spike to 14-pct in June 2020
• Vallibel Finance Asset quality uncertain driven by high share of loan book under moratorium
• Sri Lanka’s Central Finance rating confirmed at ‘A+(lka)’ amid NPL spike
• Regional Development Bank transforms to specialised micro finance bank
‘It is one of the 10 participating banks in ADB’s SME Line of Credit Project and has been proactively utilising ADB’s funds for enhancing Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) access to finance…Only 4 licensed microfinance companies are currently operating in the country and the enactment of the MCRA Act will compel microfinance and money lending institutions to obtain license to operate.’
• Sri Lanka set to come out stronger Cabraal tells Softlogic Brokers Forum
• Raja Senanayake appointed to Commercial Bank Board
He worked for Ernst & Young, Nations Trust Bank…now works for Smart Media The Annual Report Compan, heading the Smart Academy, an International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Accredited Training Foundation Partner, and an Independent Non-Executive Director of Serendib Finance Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of Commercial Bank, an Independent Non-Executive Director of Senkadagala Finance, Director of Virtual Capital Technologies (M).. the Board of Directors of Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc comprises K.G.D.D. Dheerasinghe (Chairman), M.P. Jayawardena (Deputy Chairman), S. Renganathan (Managing Director and CEO), S.C.U. Manatunge, A.K.W. Jayawardane, K. Dharmasiri, L.D. Niyangoda, N.T.M.S Cooray, G.S. Jadeja, T.L.B. Hurulle, K. Sripavan, J. Lee and R. Senanayake.
• NDB enters into landmark agreement to enable last mile financing with iLoan Lanka
‘… providing trade credit to the Underbanked and Unbanked Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (mSME) in their trade with the distributors of large manufacturers in SL….The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has identified the urgent need to find solutions to the increasingly widening trade credit gap which is in excess of $ 600 billion in Asia alone….iLoan’s fully automated trade credit network could be the answer to infuse credit downstream to a majority of the SMEs in SL.’
• NDB’s Rs.6.5bn debenture issue snapped up opening day
• Expolanka responds to unusual trading activity
• Net foreign outflow tops Rs.970mn
‘The bulk of the shares is believed to have been bought by Don & Don Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Sisil Investments Ltd., two companies linked to LOLC controlling shareholders.’
• Stellar week in ‘super September’ for CSE
• Stocks close 1.12-pct higher
• Sri Lanka must no longer depend on foreign loans: SEC DG
‘this is the place where you can raise funds for your ambitious development projects.’
• Stock market turns resilient to progress beyond pre-COVID-19 levels
• ‘Local stock market resilient; continues progress’
• Stock market gains more steam with Rs. 3.2 b turnover
• The Stock Market identified as a willing and able source to fund digital transformation
• Sri Lanka fintech start-ups seek funding in virtual pitch
• Sri Lanka rupee opens stronger, bond yields stable (S 14)
• Sri Lanka rupee ends firm, gilt yields flat (S 14)
• Sri Lanka rupee opens flat, bond yields stable (S 16)
• Sri Lanka rupee ends weak, guilt yields flat (S 16)
• Sri Lanka rupee weaker at open, bond yields stable (S 18)
• Sri Lanka rupee ends weaker, gilt yields flat (S 18)
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Competition in Sri Lanka non-life sector to rise as premiums fall: Fitch
‘Price competition among non-life insurers in Sri Lanka is likely to intensify as a ban on auto imports and an economic downturn hinder premium growth, Fitch Ratings says. new business premiums from motor insurance – which accounted for around 60% of the non-life insurance industry’s gross premiums – will contract in 2020’
• Sri Lanka’s China backed project puts reclaimed land on the market for services FDI
• Mahinda Rajapaksa wants Colombo Port City project to be accelerated as it will be the main source of income in future
‘In 2018, Forbes magazine listed the port city as one of the Five New Cities to Shake Up the Future.’
• Minority shareholders cry foul over no Overseas Realty dividend payment
• Sri Lanka realty battle heats up
‘Multiple cases being fought over the fate of the $300-million Altair project declared as a ‘flagship foreign investment project’ in the island nation’
• Blue Ocean directors’ passports impounded
• First hybrid international arbitration hearing in SL at International Arbitration Centre, WTC
• International tourist numbers down 65% in 1H 2020 – UNWTO
• Hayleys Group pre-tax profit of Rs.1.17 billion in the first quarter
• Treasury revokes temporary ban on CSR projects of SOEs
• Sri Lankan-founded Virtusa acquired by Hong Kong-based investor
• Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry interactive meetings with key ministers
• Webinar on economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and South Korea
‘Colombo Amb. Jeong Woonjin, chairman & CEO of Korea Importers Association Kwang-hee Hong and Senior International Director of KOIMA Joong-hyun Jough, Chief Economist of CCC Shiran Fernando, president of SL-Korea Business Council Priyantha Mendis and ambassador of Sri Lanka to Seoul Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis…South Korea is the 9th largest economy in the world and in 1960s was one of the poorest nations in the world. He added that the imports of South Korea in 2018 were in the vicinity of USD 530 billion and if SL could capture, only 0.1%, it would amount to USD 530 million. This would be an increase of over 700% compared to the exports from SL to the RoK in 2019. Dr. Mendis also added that 50% of SL exports to the RoK comprised of apparels, coconut and rubber products and tea’
• Real Estate Investment Trusts powering power projects
‘REITS will help unlock value trapped in existing real estate assets and will channel private money into power projects to offer investors a liquid investment product.’
• Palihapitiya in US$ 4.8bn SPAC deal to take SoftBank-backed Opendoor public
• SL introduces e-GP System for registration of Suppliers, Vendors, Service Providers and Contractors
• Business readiness, citizen maturity for SL’s e-commerce still at basic level: report
• Street vendors’ survival instinct sees them through the pandemic
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• What is the Left’s defense of the 19th Amendment?
‘The question for pro-19A comrades… is what their Leftist defense of the 19A is? Specifically, in what way, shape, or form do the constitutional council and independent commissions advance the cause of workers and peasants?’
• Pavulvaadaya and Kuhakakama
‘It is no secret that JR groomed his nephew, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to take over the ‘Uncle Nephew Party’ someday.’
• Madapatha, home of the Attygalles, whose fortunes were in graphite
• Election of Kataragama Devalaya Basanayake Nilame on Sept. 22
• The many reasons behind SLPP’s decision to revisit the draft 20th Amendment
• President urges “Viyathmaga” intellectuals to support government’s forward journey
• Growing protests against 20A by even those who backed the SLPP
• 20A and volte-face
‘those who ganged up to oust President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in 2015, and went all out to destroy him politically thereafter, albeit in vain, are now bemoaning what they call an attempt to reduce him to the level of a peon.’
• Presidential Rigidity On 20A: Ten Lessons For Democratic Resistance – Jayatilleka
• SJB whips up frenzy over flaws in draft 20A
• Karu takes over late Ven. Sobitha’s outfit, Sajith vows to scuttle 20A
• 20A: National Movement for Social Justice welcomes purported plans for wider consultation
• US-Funded Centre for Policy Alternatives fears authoritarian government
• 20A could lead to crisis worse than Yahapalana power struggle: Sri Lanka opposition
• Country will have to face repercussions of 20A before long: JVP
• 20A: Cabinet full of puppets – JVP
• Sri Lanka is a dim-witted country – Victor Ivan
• Constitutions and amendments – Ladduwahetty
‘Dr. Colvin R. De Silva as having described the 1978 Constitution “as a constitutional presidential dictatorship dressed in the raiment of a parliamentary democracy”’
• Rambukwella: President authorised 20A
• 20A controversies: mega cabinet and dual citizenship
• Empower president with full executive powers without delay
• New direction requires overall cost-benefit analysis: USAID Jehan Perera
• Isn’t that a dainty dish to set before a king! – Tisaranee Gunasekera
• Rise and fall of ‘Abraham Lincoln of the East’
• Ravi asks Ranil: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be the leader?”
• Will the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress cross over in support of the 20th Amendment?
• Remembering SLMC Leader M.H.M. Ashraff
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• The Overwhelming Racism Of COVID Coverage
‘Western media cannot write western failure’
• Nalin Sir alias Prof Nalin alias Naliya
‘The university has become a desolate place without Nalin’
• What was Buvanekabahu’s role in Lankan history?
• Punchihewa concludes Mahi Pancha series, co-authors Jathaka Stories Retold
• To Prevent an Exile: Conserving Lakdas Wikkramasinha
• Anglican Angst: Colombo Or Canterbury?
• Everything You (probably) DON’T Know about Marketing